TOWN councillors are being asked to look at a ‘multi-agency’ approach to tackling the problems of drug misuse and anti-social behaviour in Knutsford.

The issue is to be discussed at next Monday’s environment committee meeting, with councillors being asked to consider the setting-up of a working group as a starting point.

In a report to the meeting, deputy town clerk Lisa Benskin said police had said there was a need for engagement on the issues of substance misuse and anti-social behaviour in the town.

“A meeting was requested with local police to discuss substance misuse issues in Knutsford and the strategies employed to address this,” she said.

“Councillors attending the session were aware of cannabis use and cocaine dealing in licensed premises.

“PCSO Nancollas and Sergeant Johnson provided information about the predominant issues, which included covert use of cocaine and cannabis use in the younger generation.

“Complaints regarding drug use on the Heath have been ‘nipped in the bud’ by active patrols, and whilst CCTV can capture activities it cannot be used to prosecute.

“Enhanced lighting in problem areas such as the cut-through from Westfield Drive to Northwich Road is something the police have approached Cheshire East Council about, but this has been rejected due to budgetary constraints.

“The Warren Avenue allotment site was highlighted as a problem area due to its location and open access, along with other problem areas of the town centre and housing estates.

“The police approach is a fine balance of getting intel and not scaring off offenders to other areas. Undercover officers are used in certain circumstances if considered appropriate.

“A combined multi-agency’ approach to the issues is considered to be the most effective way of dealing with the problems.”

The meeting discussed the setting-up of a working group involving the police, Knutsford Academy, town councillors, GPs, a youth worker from The Welcome, North West Ambulance Service, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and housing associations.

The report said the meeting also discussed a range of other issues, including the ‘lack of an affordable cinema’, a skate park, a Street pastor scheme and activities for young people.